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St. John volleyball team sets sights on another state tourney berth
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 The Class 1A top-ranked St. John High School volleyball team is 21-4 overall. The Lady Tigers lost two matches at a volleyball tournament last Saturday, hosted by Great Bend.
 That being said, finishing 3-2 as a 1A  team in a tournament featuring 6A and 5A teams is an impressive feat.
 “We kind of had a rough day on Saturday,” Lady Tigers head coach Trish Wade said. “We lost to Wichita Northwest in three sets and lost in the semis in three , we had good losses to teams from bigger schools.”
The Lady Tigers were able to get a win against 5A Great Bend, 25-20 and 25-11.
St. John’s only losses were against 3A Phillipsburg and 6A Wichita Northwest.
Last season, St. John made it to the state tournament. The Lady Tigers beat Macksville at the regional championships to advance to sub-state, where they beat Ingalls and Greensburg.
 At the state championship, they lost to Frankfort, who went on to win the state championship. The Lady Tigers took third place after beating Central Christian.
This season, the Lady Tigers are 4-0 in the Central Prairie League entering the last third of their schedule, full of league opponents.
St. John is  looking to repeat the trip to state.
“We’ve worked very hard all summer,” Trish Wade said. “I am very proud of my upperclassmen’s work ethic.”
The Lady Tigers are anchored by four upperclassmen — Ava Long and Daniele Wendland and juniors Christa Milton and Teresa Wade.
“Teresa Wade was an all-state and all-league player last year and made tournament teams as a sophomore,” Trish Wade said. “Morgan Osborne was honorable mention in the CPL.
“Jamie (Waters) broke her wrist last year and was out for about six weeks,” Trish Wade said. “She came back last year at the Great Bend tournament, and she was very instrumental in our regional and state showing (last season).”
The rest of the team is made up of three sophomores, Osborn, Waters and Rhian Collins and eight freshmen.
“No one’s standing out yet, but I think they will,” Trish Wade said of her large freshman class. “They all have a job on the team. We utilize nine girls who rotate in and out.”
 The Lady Tigers have used their early season tournaments, like the Great Bend tournament and the Cardinal Classic, hosted by Hoisington, to prepare them for their league matches, as well as regional and state championships.
“Playing at Great Bend has shown some weaknesses,” Trish Wade said. “We hope to clean up the weaknesses to make us stronger.”
Starting today, when the Lady Tigers travel to Victoria to play in a triangular against Claflin, St. John will face four CPL foes before the league tournament at Hoisington on Oct. 16.
After the CPL tournament, the Lady Tigers will play one final triangular, going up against Ranson and Logan, before entering into sub-state and state match play
“I expect us to do very well the rest of the season,” Trish Wade said. “We’ve done a very good job cleaning up our defense this year and we have some things we saw at the tournament last weekend that we can fix to be ready for the state.”